Friday, July 30, 2010

While You Are At It...

CNS reports on a summit between bishops and Catholic media professionals. In it, USCCB communications committee chairman, Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, and bishop president of Pax Christi in the USA, Gambino Zavala says the following,

"As I talked with brother bishops in preparation for this presentation, there was consistent agreement that one aspect that is most alarming to us about media is when it becomes un-Christian and hurtful to individuals," he said. "We are particularly concerned about blogs that engage in attacks and hurtful judgmental language. We are very troubled by blogs and other elements of media that assume the role of magisterium and judge others in the church."

Very interesting. While we should be loving and charitable when possible, we should value the truth of Revelation more than people's feelings. What is even more interesting is that this comes after decades of silence on the part of the bishops concerning the behavior of the professional Catholic media. Where was the concern over the NCR, US Catholic et al distorting and undermining the Faith, while viciously attacking anyone they considered to be 'pre-conciliar'? Not only was there a lack of concern, but rather positive support of dissenting media. How many dioceses have advertised for jobs in the NCR? I wonder what is operative is something similar to what happens in the secular media; that the professionals see their monopoly crumbling and their ideological agenda crumbling. Yes, the bishops (and the rest of us) should be concerned about the new media and Christian behavior. But, it is all rings a little hollow when the lack of action on the old media is considered.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Freedom Of Navigation Exercise.

Being a child of the 80s, I remember well the periodic confrontations between the US Navy and Libya in the Gulf of Sidra. The US has a policy of challenging limits placed on navigation which are excessive and not in accord with international law. Goofball Muammar Gaddafi had claimed the Gulf of Sidra as territorial waters, the US challenged that claim, and Libya lost several aircraft and ships over the decade.

Why am I talking about this? Because this is how I view certain liturgical actions. Not long ago, one of my deacons asked why we don't distribute Holy Communion under both species at our 6:00 p. m. Mass even when one of the deacons is present. I told him that it was to make clear that Holy Communion under one species is perfectly valid. (Last year during the Swine Flu scare, many of my parishioners opined that they felt they hadn't received all of Jesus if they only received the Host: catechetical failure!) Let's be clear on this, a requirement for the laity to receive under both species is the heresy of Utraquism.

Other liturgical practices, not required but laudable, can also come under Freedom of Navigation. Use of the Confiteor, wearing a cassock, biretta, zucchetto, maniple, using the Roman Canon,using black vestments, and celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass all come to mind. It is important that these optional things that drive the liturgical establishment be done in order to demonstrate that they can be done. (I could argue from other points that they should be done.) A right which is not exercised is a right soon lost.

Monday, July 26, 2010

By The Company They Keep.

The Curt Jester has posted an especially good fisk and analysis of an article on a (former) Roman Catholic Woman(non)Priest in Oregon. (Read it especially for the truth about a 1976 Pontifical Biblical Commission report on women's ordination that the chicks-with-pyx habitually misrepresent.)

Anyway, it contains a link to the Water Witches' website. I looked through there western region sub-site to see if there was an local activity (there isn't--yet) and if I knew any of the Poncho Gals in Oregon (I don't, which surprises me considering some of the lay women who took classes at the sem). But I did spy an interesting name on their list--Rod Stephens. For those who don't know, Ram Rod (the origin of his unfortunate nick-name will quickly become apparent) is a laicized and excommunicated priest formerly of the Diocese of Orange. While he was the head of the office of liturgy, he was more well-known for cohabitating with his homosexual partner while still an active priest. (They even sent out joint holiday cards.) While he may be one of the girls, it is interesting that he is considered a Woman(non)Priest. Their is a note on the list that explains, "RCWP has accepted a few male priests to their membership who work closely with their ministries."

What is important to note is that the Poncho Gals don't just dissent from the Church teaching in one area. Their heresy has metastasized, as is usual road of dissent.

How to Survive an Alien Attack

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Parish Coolness.

My parish is the coolest! Paul Simon, Donna Reed, and James Brown are parishioners. (OK, not the famous ones, but parishioners none the less.) Our First Communion teacher is a cousin of Frank Caliendo. One of my secretaries is a descendant of Robert E. Lee. And I just found out that our new DRE is descended from one of the mob at Carthage Jail and also the blacksmith that made the first Bowie knife. (This is not to mention that the pastor is a cousin of Fae Wray, Ezra Taft Benson, and John Wilkes Booth and descended from St. Mathilda.)

Parish Talk.

For those of you in the Utah area, Dr. Regis Martin, Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, will be speaking on the Church at St. James the Just Parish in Ogden, Utah on Saturday, July 24 at 7:00 p. m..

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sr. Mary Joseph, R. I. P.

Please pray for the soul of Sr. Mary Joseph Wipperman, OCD of the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Holladay, Utah. Sister was the extern and a convert from Mormonism. She passed away last night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Isn't That The Point Of Tradition?

California Catholic Daily is reporting that the Diocese of Orange is going ahead with plans for a new cathedral. And from the comments, it will more like the Los Angeles armadillo or the Oakland cooling tower than the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe or the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Houston. This is not surprising that the architect is the same one that was used in Oakland. Great another ugly, modern church. No, I am not certain, but I would bet money on it. The ethos of modern architecture is opposed to an orthodox theology of church architecture.

Three specific things occur to me about this. First, given that the bishop will likely be retiring soon, wouldn't it be better to allow his successor to guide the whole project? Second, the diocese states that they don't want to 'copy the past'. In one sense, this could be good. After all, it likely wouldn't be a good idea to replica St. Peter's in Santa Anna. However, the meaning seems more like, "We don't want past architectural principles to inform and guide our current effort." This doesn't seem to be very Catholic to me. It speaks more of an ethos of rupture and discontinuity than one of continuity and tradition. Third, the primary concerns in design seem to be environmentalism, ethnic sensitivity, and ecumenism. While none of these are bad per se, I would think that authentic Catholic worship and iconography would be more important.


Before I get to the meat of this post, let me explain why I haven't been posting much. At first there was the end of the school year stuff. Then there was getting ready for and going on my trip to Annapolis. Then catching up from the trip. Add to this getting ill a couple of times. On top of all of this, most of the stuff I was pondering (no Pinky, not taking over the world) were things that I cannot publicly discuss. (Nothing bad, just confidential things.) Anyway, as Sam said to Rosie, I am back.

The other day at coffee following morning Mass, the topic of theatricality during Mass, especially during homilies, came up. To be quite honest (as a long time readers could no doubt guess), everything else being equal I don't like it. Worship isn't about entertainment or expressing ourselves. It isn't about us. It is about God, what He has, is, and will do for us. It is about the Gospel. I guess this is my fundamental objection to using mime, theater, or artsy-fartsy stuff at church especially during Mass. It becomes a performance. Look at me, look at us, and not behold your God. This is the fundamental flaw of modern liturgical praxis, it encourages showmanship: a personal connection with the people. There should be a personal connection but not between the celebrant, homilies, musicians, etc... and the people. But between Christ and the people. This is why more and more I am convinced that ad orietem isn't just a nice idea, but essential. The Lord must be allowed to work in the liturgy without us getting in the way.

And get in the way we do. During our coffee talk, many examples of theatrically were brought up. The funny thing was that while people could remember the cute gimmick, no one could remember what, if any, point was trying to be conveyed. My personal opinion is that most of the time the gimmick becomes and end in itself. A story is told in the homily because the homilist thinks he is supposed to tell a story. I know a priest that tells a joke during every homily, no matter whether or not it has any bearing on the topic. Ultimately, I think stuff like this betrays a desire for personal acclaim. This doesn't mean that this and other tricks can't be used occasionally and very effectively (with the exception of mimes, clowns, and puppets, giant or otherwise, that have absolutely no place in the liturgy: period.) But before they are used, those using them should be absolutely certain that they convey and don't obstruct the message. Think of Bishop Sheen or Father Corapi. Every story conveys the message and even if it is a personal story it isn't about them, it is about the Gospel.

So ultimately, my advice is get over yourself and get into Jesus.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

I'm Just Saying....

I Do Not Like The Cone Of Shame.

Pilgrimage Reminder.

Just a reminder that I am leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in February 2011. While it is associated with the Equestrian Order, it is not limited to member and it is open to people from outside of Utah. (You know you want to come!) The particulars may be found be clicking here.

Things I Have Learned.

The first one became evident during the first six months in our new church: never put a lavatory next to a confessional. There is something wrong with hearing a flush while giving absolution.

As for number two, expiration dates on sunblock should actually be taken seriously. Previously I discovered that if sunblock freezes, the active ingredient separates. (This leads to a tiger stripe effect.) But while sailing last week, I found out that the active ingredient can become passive over time.